Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Mistaken identity

Helen Keller.

I'm always mistaking Helen Keller for Anne Frank.

It's not my worst problem, but it's happened often enough to be a trend.

Over Thanksgiving, someone mentioned Helen Keller not being able to talk. I mistakenly confused this remark as a joke about Anne Frank not being able to speak because she was seized by the Nazis and killed. It legitimately offended me. My face blanched and I sat stunned and silent for several seconds before I processed that Helen Keller and Anne Frank were different people.

Coincidentally, South Park's traditional Thanksgiving episode about Helen Keller: The Musical was in rotation. The confusion never arises from the episode, because of lyrics like, "Helen Keller, Helen Keller, blind as a bat. Can't see or speak. What's up with that?"

On the other hand, a coworker once recounted her adventures in Amsterdam. A few months later the topic came up again, and I made fun of her for touring the Helen Keller House while stoned. She yelled at me. I had no idea what the problem was. She told me I wasn't being funny. No, of course not, I said. It took a few minutes to clear up the confusion.

I don't know how someone who'd visit the Anne Frank House baked could have the piety to lecture me for confusing Anne Frank with Helen Keller.

6 comments:

blythe said...

color me not surprised.

Mr. Shain said...

i wonder if helen keller was an anti-semite.

crimenotes said...

Indeed.

According to South Park, she was a child in 1800s Alabama. As described in the song: "We're so happy to be living in 1800s Alabama because it's sunny and there is no crime." Without impugning 1800s Alabama, it seems feasible that perhaps young Helen was exposed to anti-Semitism. Then again, being blind, deaf and mute, she likely was unable to ascertain race and ethnicity, so the entire notion of prejudice may have been purely hypothetical for her.

Cock D said...

God, I want to make a porn joke so badly... there are so many and they are all just too far over the line.

Sigh.

Todd said...

"Water Helen, Water..."

Thanks, now I've got those lyrics stuck in my head.

CrimeNotes said...

And now that I can finally see, the world is not so cold and dark.